150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

This list is still in progress and being added to weekly. Check back again soon!

150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

In 2020, the American Fisheries Society will celebrate its 150th Anniversary. As part of the celebration, the Society will be calling attention to 150 fishes. We solicited nominations of fishes for the list by the Society’s membership.

The 150 Fishes list is a celebration of the biodiversity of freshwater and marine fishes of North America. These fishes will help tell the story of fish and fisheries of the continent. They may illustrate unique life histories, beauty, conservation issues, and challenges of managing and conserving these animals and their habitats.  These fishes represent our native biodiversity, but also illustrates how invasives and our own human nature have had impacts on our aquatic resources. Hence, this list will primarily focus on native species but may include non-natives when they tell a compelling fisheries story. From the stories of these fishes, the Society and the public can learn to better appreciate these amazing natural resources and be challenged to ensure that future generations will be able to experience these fishes in their native settings.

Nomination Process

Fish nominations are now closed.

Circulation Process

The 150 Fishes list will reside at the 150th Anniversary Website, information about individual fish from the list will be circulated through various social media platforms throughout the year.

This list is meant to be a fun for members and informative for the public. It is unlikely we will be able to include all nominations. We acknowledge that every fish has a story. There may be opportunities to discuss all the nominated fishes in the future.


Catchy TitleWhale Shark, A Gentle Giant
Common Name of FishWhale Shark
Scientific Name of FishRhincodon typus
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

Most people imagine a fast, sleek predator when you mention sharks. The Whale Shark does not fit this profile. Whale sharks are the largest of the fishes, reaching lengths up to 41 feet and weighing as much as 21 tons. But this gentle giant should not evoke a sense of dread. It’s not a man-eater. It feeds on plankton (tiny shrimp-like creatures) and other small prey, which it filters from the ocean. Filter feeding whales swim slowly through the water with their mouth open, straining out plankton. Conversely, the Whale Shark sucks water in its mouth, closes its mouth, and forces water out its gills, which act as strainers collecting small food items. Scientists believe that Whale Sharks “cough” to clear their gills if they get too messy. Whale sharks find rich patches of plankton using their sense of smell. Since they aren’t man-eaters, swimming with Whale Sharks has become a popular eco-tourism attraction. This slow-moving behemoth should make people re-think their ideas about sharks.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/w/whale-shark/
Your NameSteve Lochmann